Managers and Coaches: How do they work?
Management at Redgate has always been a very supportive role.
We equip our managers to level up the members of their team, including how to give effective feedback, how to have personal development conversations, and we even include an Introduction to Coaching workshop in our core management skills training.
What is the role of our coaching team if all our managers can coach anyway?
A Piece of the Puzzle
Fundamentally our coaching team is a support function. Our purpose is to “increase the impact and efficacy of engineering” at Redgate, and one of the most powerful ways to do that is ensuring our managers can give — and receive — all the support our people need.
That may be working with our managers directly as individuals, coaching their team, or offering coaching services to a member of their team.
How does that work?
Opportunities for coaching arise almost every day. Perhaps a team or person feels they could be achieving more, there’s a challenge we’re unsure how to tackle, or a someone needs a little extra support.
Our managers tend to take the lead here. They use their own skills, including coaching, to find ways forward. This is often challenging and even the most experienced manager needs help sometimes. In situations we encourage our managers to reach out to the coaching team for support.
It’s important people get the right help, so a crucial part of our process is what we call contracting. This involves meeting with the person (or people) we’ll be working with to make sure we’re all aligned on what coaching is, if it’s the right tool for the job, and what we’re looking to achieve together.
The manager will often be a part of that contracting conversation. This helps us make sure everyone is working towards the same goal and has the same understanding of how we’ll work together. That can include regular updates with the manager, so everyone knows how the coaching work is progressing.
What’s in it for the manager?
There are other types of support available, including reaching out to another manager. What makes working with a coach different?
First and foremost, we’re dedicated coaches. While coaching is a tool all our managers have, it’s the tool our coaches have been seeking to master. By calling in a coach the manager gets access to the coach’s skills and experiences for free.
Our coaches operate outside Redgate’s typical delivery structure, so we’re well-placed to offer unbiased support when it’s needed. Without having to think as much about upcoming deliveries and commitments, we can offer our entire focus on whoever we’re coaching and the challenges they’re facing.
That also sets us up to provide longer-term support. While we’re happy to help in getting over immediate barriers and get work moving, we can continue to work with people and teams to build more sustainable, long-term change.
Finally, we’re also to offer a safe environment to people who need it. Some topics are difficult to tackle, especially when a management relationship is involved. Our coaches can tackle these sensitive topics with discretion, for the benefit of everyone involved.